POSTS BY Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang

Health Before Rights and Liberties: Thailand’s Response to COVID-19

On 13 January, Thailand was the first country outside of China to confirm a COVID-19 case. Prayuth invoked the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situation on 26 March 2020. At present, new cases are down to a single-digit figure per day. However, the 2005 Emergency Decree may not be the appropriate tool, as it has misled the public’s understanding of the pandemic and allows the government to employ unnecessarily harsh measures, leading to over-criminalization and arguable abuses of power.

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Thailand’s Obsession with Clean Politics Dismantles its Democracy

On 21 February, the already fragile Thai democracy became even more vulnerable as the Constitutional Court dissolved the Future Forward Party, the third largest party and the most active opposition against the government of Prayuth Chan-ocha. This case is the latest in the series of judicial overreach in Thailand. The phenomenon is being fueled by the unhealthy obsession of building clean politics which yields an opposite result.

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A Constitutional Court Silencing its Critics

After twenty years of operation, the Thai Constitutional Court has finally got its first statute that lays out details of procedural rules. The Organic Act on the Procedure of the Constitutional Court B.E. 2561 (2018) is long overdue. A decade of political chaos had prevented the Parliament from passing the law until the military took power in 2014. The junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly expected it to facilitate the Court through the foreseeably turbulent future. Ironically, turbulences might come from the law itself.

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